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Origami is the art of paper-folding. Its name derives from Japanese words ori (“folding”) and kami (“paper”). Traditional origami consists of folding a single sheet of square paper (often with a colored side) into a sculpture without cutting, gluing, taping, or even marking it.
Paper was introduced to Japan in the 6th century. During this time, the practice of paper-folding emerged as a ceremonial Shinto ritual. It was not until Japan's Edo Period (1603 – 1868) that origami would also be viewed as a leisurely activity and art form.
Origami works often featured flowers, birds, and other nature-based motifs. These subjects are also prevalent in contemporary origami, which remains true to the traditional Japanese practice in all ways but one: originally, the practice allowed artists to strategically cut the sheets of paper. Today, however, true origami is sculpted entirely through folds—an attribute the Japanese adopted from Europe.